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The darkness filled the room. First, it swirled in slowly, barely noticeable, but then it began blotting out any light in the area. It suffocated the moon and the stars in the sky and Becca watched in amazement. She was awestruck as it happened but unconcerned.
Concern didn’t step in until she went to get up and look out the window at the spectacle before her and she realized she couldn’t move. As if a rope held her to the chair, she could not lift her arms or lean forward even in order to stand from the seat. Her heart raced as she wriggled to free herself. Then she heard a scream in the background and she froze in fear.
Loud sounds came from outside her bedroom door. Groans and creaks followed by broken glass and repeated screams. She was helpless. The darkness in the room was so deafening, all she could do was blink her eyes in hopes that eventually the light would make its way in.
Finally, silence. She breathed relief until she realized she had no way of knowing whether or not she or her sister was safe. As if a blanket was lifted, her arms were freed. She stood from the chair and felt her way to the door, still in utter black. The handle felt hot as she turned it. A white light stabbed its way in, she turned to shield her unprepared eyes.
“We only have a few minutes,” she heard and felt a hand grab hers. She recognized the voice and the sweet scent as Morgans and so she blindly followed.
“Where is Jenny?”
“She is safe,” Morgan replied.
Down the stairs and out the front, Becca felt the cool grass under her feet as her eyes began to adjust. Her heart continued to race in her chest, if not more now as she saw the smoke billowing out of the top windows of the house.
“What the hell is going on?” she asked. Jenny ran up and hugged her tightly, something she never did. Becca could feel her body shake.
“It was horrible,” Jenny said. “Indescribable.”
“I’m so sorry,” Morgan began. “It appears the problem here was bigger than I prepared for.”
Becca settled into her apartment for the night with a plan to meet the “group” the next day. Cora, who had exited the house shortly after the events of the night settled, was lying on a pillow next to her head.
Jenny was home with Bo. She made up a small lie that they had a kitchen fire and were unable to stay longer until the home was inspected for safety and aired out. One that Bo barely believed but accepted as long as it meant she was home.
Andrew sat on his bed on the other end of town flipping his phone around as if it was a toy. It was late, he knew, but he dialed her up anyway.
Becca jumped when the phone vibrated, still anxious from the night’s event. Her body went numb when she saw the name Andrew light up her screen. He never called this late.
“What’s up?” she asked rather than a hello.
“I’m not sure,” he admitted. “I can’t sleep and I thought you might be the only other person in the world awake right now.”
“Well, you were wrong,” she said rather abruptly.
“Oh,” he retreated. “I’m sorry, I can let you go.”
“No,” she said quickly, too quickly for her liking. “I’m good. I just am having a rough night.”
“Oh yeah?” he asked. “What’s going on?”
“You first,” she said.
“Nothing out of the ordinary here. Work is the most stressful it has ever been now that your sister is the mini boss, but other than that, it’s okay. I’d rather not go down that road though. I’m really trying to avoid it.”
Becca knew better though. If he spoke it, it was weighing on his mind. “What did she do?” she insisted.
“Same as always. Comes in demanding we do things a certain way, but not in a demanding way, in a sweet, ‘look at this, won’t it be so much better’ way,” he began. “All the old men do nothing but look at her boobs and nod in agreement, but fuck, we can’t do things the way she wants to. It’s not exactly legal.”
“Oh,” Becca said. She sat up in bed as the conversation got a little less lethargic, rustling Cora in the process. “It’s okay,” she whispered to the cat and gave her a soft pat on her head.
“She seems to think that anything she comes up with is only slightly illegal and your dad will get them out of it,” he finished, not specifying exactly what he was alluding to. “The man isn’t God, he can’t fix everything.”
“I know,” she said. “But he always has solved her problems, so she expects it.”
“Well, I’m not about to go down in the process,” he said. “I don’t even think your dad knows half of what she is doing.”
“He did say he wanted her to take initiative and prove herself,” Becca admitted. “I guess she is taking that as license to do whatever she wants.”
“I don’t think I can stay,” Andrew said, realizing it for himself in just the same moment he spoke the words. “I’ve put my whole career into this company.”
“I know,” Becca said softly. “I can’t imagine dealing with her like that. She’s used to getting what she wants.” She then realized she was about to enter into a similar agreement if she continued with the plan to turn their newly in need of remodeling, and probably exorcism of a house, into a bed and breakfast. Maybe having ghosts will make it more appealing and profitable. She laughed to herself.
“What?” Andrew asked.
Becca had drifted to her own world and his words brought her back. “Oh, I have had a hell of a night,” she said. “Also, with my sister.” She went on to tell him about the strangeness of the night, not caring at all if he thought it was any bit of unusual or unbelievable.
“How do you get yourself into these things?” was his response which only made her laugh, because he was right. And then before the conversation ended, he added, “The sun is coming up.”
She looked out the window and saw the different shades of the day making their way in. “Oh my God.” She couldn’t believe she had spent the whole night awake save a few minutes before Andrew called.
“Let me take you to breakfast,” Andrew said. “And then let’s get a hotel for the day. Away from the world. We can eat snacks, watch TV, and nap our life down the drain.”
She thought for a moment about the tasks ahead that she needed to work on, including figuring out what the hell it was trying to kill her sister and her inside that house and how to stop it, but then she thought about how safe and nice it was to spend time with Andrew. The way time stopped when he looked into her eyes and the way every care disappeared when his arms were wrapped around her.
“Yeah,” she said. Fuck it. “Where should I meet you?”